If you didn’t catch our op-ed in the Seattle Times “A Carbon Tax is Right for Our Environment and Economy”, go back and read it now. Phil Jones, a Republican and former UTC commissioner (and new CarbonWA board member) joined former Starbucks President (and CarbonWA supporter) Howard Behar to call on the legislature to take action this year.
“As a moderate Republican and an independent, we don’t always see eye to eye on how to solve some of society’s biggest challenges. But on climate change we agree: Taxing the sources of carbon pollution is a pragmatic, bipartisan, common-sense solution.”
Once you’ve read the Seattle Times piece, read Charlotte Omoto’s op-ed for CarbonWA in the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, “Carbon Tax Helps Environment, Boosts Economy.”
Then, check out this Washington State Wire discussion between conservative leaning journalist Keith Phillips and CarbonWA ED Kyle Murphy about passing a carbon tax this year. The Wire’s takeaway from the discussion is that a carbon tax can easily pass as long as it’s revenue neutral. If you still haven’t had enough, check out supporter Merv Montacute’s LTE about the ACT NOW lobby day, and his message to his representative.
The next 8 weeks in Olympia
On April 20th we held our lobby day with over 120 people – the same day that Senator Guy Palumbo dropped a new carbon tax bill. You can check out our analysis of the bill here, Seattle Weekly’s coverage of our lobby day, and this fantastic video of our lobby day from supporter Bill Aston. Thank you to everyone who attended and to everyone who helped us raise over $2,200 to fund our push. Our efforts didn’t go unnoticed, but the regular legislative session still ended without a budget deal or a price on carbon. The governor has called the legislature back into a special session that is expected to last through June. So, we still have about 8 weeks of opportunity ahead of us to push climate action this year.
In May, we don’t expect much to actually happen. Many legislators have gone home and the whole legislature seems to be taking a ‘halftime’ break. We even heard from a supporter that reached out to their Senator in Eastern Washington for a meeting that he needed to make a power trip home to plow his wheat fields first (hopefully he knows that wheat is threatened by climate change!).
In June, the legislature will begin the serious negotiations around a budget, so we have to be prepared for a ‘blitz’ of advocacy to make the case for a carbon price in the final budget. On June 20, there will be a new revenue forecast for the state that will influence the legislature’s thinking, and on July 1, the state runs out of money, so between June 20th and July 1st, anything can happen!
Our take is that it’s still a 3 point shot to pass a carbon price this year, but we are taking inspiration from Tacoma-native Isaiah Thomas who dropped 53 points in the NBA semi-finals the other day. Let’s take the shot!
Duncan Clauson, Bill Boyd are back. Yoram is moving on.
The CarbonWA board continues to grow. This week, we are excited to welcome back Duncan Clauson (former CarbonWA co-director) and longtime communications advisor Bill Boyd to the board. We are pleased to have Duncan and Bill in the game because it helps to balance out our sadness in announcing that Yoram Bauman will be officially stepping down from the board. Yoram has been with CarbonWA for over 8 years now helping to found the group, and deserves an unbelievable amount of credit for all that we have achieved. Yoram is stepping down for a variety of reasons, including a desire to spend more time focused on family, to have more professional freedom to take on new projects, and to focus his energy on fighting climate change in other states (check out this new report from Yoram and Charles Komanoff on carbon tax prospects in other states). Yoram will remain involved in some of our projects and will continue to advise our organization.
In The News
Crosscut reports that a Carbon tax is down but don’t count it out this legislative session. A new U.S. Dept of Energy report on energy sector employment shows that Today’s Energy Jobs Are in Solar, Not Coal. A survey of 21 college Republican clubs by the Thomson Reuters Foundation reveals that young conservatives increasingly believe the party has a responsibility to act on climate change. One club called climate denial “ludicrous.”
Hot on the heels of Microsoft’s special deal to buy more clean energy and have PSE deliver it to Microsoft’s Western WA facilities, comes news that other local businesses and governments have succeeded in their quest to buy 100% renewable power from PSE through the new ‘Green Direct’ program. REI, Target, Starbucks, City of Anacortes, King County and Western Washington University are among the first participants. And just in time for Earth Day, the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution went 24 hours without coal-fired electricity for the first time since the 1800s – in part due to a $23/ton carbon tax.
If you’ve noticed it’s a little rainier than normal, your not imagining it as Seattle Crushes Rain Record, While Rival Portland Wet, Too from US News & World Report. We aren’t alone with the weird weather, as Record-breaking climate events all over the world are being shaped by global warming, the Washington Post reports. You’ll see a photo below from our booth at the March for Science, where we joined thousands of other people marching for the integrity of science which you can read more about in the Seattle Times: Seattle’s March for Science draws thousands on Earth Day — including a Nobel Prize winner. Finally, hope springs eternal, according to John Kerry: Why I’m an optimist this Earth Day in the Washington Post.
Hope Springs Eternal!
From the whole Carbon Washington team